Lyle To Meld Varied Views In New Nat Geo Gig

Publish date:

As new CEO of National Channel Geographic Channels U.S., David Lyle will be based in Washington, D.C. His view, however, will also extend worldwide.
In this newly created position, Lyle, who had been serving as head of west coast development for the past few months, is responsible for the overall supervision of the National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Mundo, which are jointly owned by the Fox Networks Group and the National Geographic Society. He's also in charge of global programming, as the National Geographic Society has networks serving 166 territories around the world.
National Geographic Channels president Steve Schiffman will report to Lyle.
The management move comes just over six months after Fox Sports Media Group chairman and CEO David Hill had been given responsibility for National Geographic Ventures U.S. as part of Fox Networks Group's restructuring following the departure of veteran Tony Vinciquerra.
Last spring, National Geographic Channel executive vice president of global content Steve Burns left the network, as Nat Geo vice president of production Michael Cascio served in that role on an in interim basis.

With Fox since 2005, Lyle had previously served as president of Fox Look, a unit specializing in the international licensing and production of reality formats, and the Fox Reality Channel, a national cable outlet dedicated to unscripted programming, which was converted to Nat Geo Wild in 2010.

That marked the first international Nat Geo service, which is programming globally by Geoff Daniels, senior vice president of development and production for National Geographic Channels International, to migrate Stateside.

"At Fox Reality, we were talking to Geoff. I certainly knew what was going on in terms of its programming," said Lyle. Given his global responsibilities, Lyle is looking to bridge the geographic challenges that arise from the "tyranny of distance. The National Geographic Society has far-flung operations and services. The international development team, in many respects, they act as trend-spotter. But it's a two-way path with the U.S. After all, a hit is a hit is hit, whether it's from the U.S. or a global territory," said Lyle, who as president of FreemantleMedia North America led a team that launched and guided American Idol. He has also served as worldwide head of acquisition and development for Pearson Television in London. At Australia's Nine Network, Lyle served as head of development.

Stateside, one of Lyle' first orders of business involved the management of Nat Geo's upcoming fall schedule, highlighted by Rock Stars, Rocket City Rednecks and Mad Scientists.
"I'm fully aware of these shows and others coming up, having been part of the development team. I will really be involved in their scheduling," he said, noting that a number of the projects he had been working on from the west coast  could surface late in 2012, or more likely early in 2013.
Under his watch, Lyle said Nat Geo Channels U.S. will follow a very aggressive course, benefiting from the reach, respect and appeal associated with National Geographic Society. "There are a number of new producers on the horizon we'll be working with. To really grow, we need to become more ambitious and take some big swings" with larger episode commitments.
Lyle said Nat Geo will continue to be a mixture of high-profile, "oh my God, natural history specials, as well as projects that are "relatable to the American people. We want to bring the bigger scope of the Society's mission of understanding to character-driven programming."
To that end, he gave good grades to The Indestructibles, which integrates original footage of disastrous accidents and pulls back the curtain on the science behind their amazing survival stories.

"The Indestructibles has really burst out of the gate," he said. "Essentially, the show's in the area of science engineers and it's truly reflective of that category. But it also really tells great human stories."